[Via Satellite 11-16-2015] Intelsat’s latest EpicNG deal with SkyPerfect JSAT was not easy to do and in fact took well over a year to complete, according to Bruno Fromont, senior vice -president of strategy and asset management at Intelsat. Fromont told Via Satellite that Intelsat had been working on this deal “for quite some time” and that it had been “18 months in the making.”
Intelsat and Sky Perfect JSAT announced earlier this month that they had signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture that will launch a new satellite with optimized C-band and high throughput Ku-band capacity to satisfy the growing mobility and broadband connectivity demands in the Asia-Pacific region. To be known as Horizons 3e, the satellite is based on the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput design, which, upon launch, will complete the global footprint of the Intelsat EpicNG next generation platform. The satellite will be stationed at the 169 degrees east orbital location with a launch expected in the second half of 2018.
Sky Perfect JSAT is a long-standing partner of Intelsat, and given the history that the two operators share, the deal is perhaps not a surprise. Also, with Japan being such an important market and an overall telecommunications hub, the partnership makes a lot of sense for Intelsat.
Fromont said Intelsat felt the partnership model made the most sense for its first High Throughput Satellite in Asia.
“There is a lot of fragmentation. We truly believe that the satellite and solution we are going to put together is really going to be great, and will be a differentiator in the marketplace,” he said.
Fromont described the Asia market as unique; hence why the operator has decided not to go at it alone with the launch of this satellite.
“The Asian market is peculiar, it is very fragmented. There are a number of operators and solutions. It is a matter of making sure that the satellite and the economics make sense. It makes a lot of sense when you can get the synergies from a capital expenditure perspective. In Asia, it is easier if you can manage the opportunity and challenges with a partner,” he said.
The deal, while an important one for Intelsat, Fromont described as “more evolution, than revolution” for the operator. “From a deployment perspective, this is a pretty significant milestone. We have been looking for a while to have the right business case to deploy a high throughput asset in the Pacific Ocean region. We have global mobility coverage, and we wanted to add with the first two Epic satellites that we are going to launch next year. We wanted to augment these capabilities on a global basis, and Horizons 3e venture adds that. It is closing the loop for us. We are pretty excited about it,” he added.
Also, given the fact that much of East Asia has quite advanced terrestrial and wireless infrastructure, is the opportunity for a high-powered broadband satellite more limited? “We have a strong commitment toward Asia. Regarding the land mass market, yes the market is more challenging, but even in a country like Japan, you have companies that are relying on satellite solutions for remote areas. The region just cannot go cellular,” Fromont said.
The Horizons 3e satellite addresses a number of different verticals. Intelsat will be focusing a lot on all of the mobility sub-markets such as aeronautical, maritime, and beyond. There are a number of very heavily used transport routes in the region, which could lend itself to what Intelsat is doing here. Fromont believes there are also a number of opportunities for pure broadband connectivity to enterprises, cellular backhaul and government-type activities. Horizons 3e aims to provide good solutions for government applications.
“We will try to address most of the countries. In Japan, we felt there were a number of domestic applications that would make sense. We will also focus on New Zealand, Australia, and these are really the key markets for us,” Fromont said.
If Fromont was to pick one, he says maritime would likely be most important vertical market for Horizons 3e.
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